The unprecedented rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and North America is a troubling phenomenon. Even the most optimistic Polyannas among the Jews and their supporters now grudgingly admit that something must be wrong. This is not the crude anti-Semitism of Adolf Hitler, which pictured the Jews as degenerates, who don’t deserve to live, on the contrary – the new anti-Semitism is more sophisticated. It allows the Jews to exist (as long as they behave as expected), but it masks itself as a concern for “social justice” and “equality” and rejects on that ground the Jewish national ideology and the policies of Israel. The feasibility of the Jewish state is questioned and the only solution to the conflicts in the area is seen in surrender and creating one or two states, where Jews and Arabs will live together as a big happy family.
The worst part is that many believe in these utopian dreams – if only Israel frees a few more Arab terrorists from its jails or gives away another big piece of land or introduces even stricter controls over the Jews walking on Temple Mount, the harmony they yearn for would be within their reach. Though those delusions are shared by the Israeli Left, their most ardent proponents are Westerners, who know very little about the brutal realities of the Middle East. Of course, there are also those who know the reality very well, but deliberately try to destroy Israel through weakening the country. Regardless of the motivation, both groups will eventually cause the same result – and it won’t be different from what Hitler did.
During the last couple of years, we have witnessed the horrific consequences of the brutal forces of Islam unleashed by the “Arab Spring.” Hundreds of thousands of Christians, Yazidis and even other Muslims have been exterminated or misplaced. We don’t hear about killed Jews, because those have been killed or expelled from most Muslim countries long time ago and Israel, with its experience in self-defence, is a nut that even the most fanatical Muslim barbarians would find impossible to crack.
In the times when the Jews in Western Europe are persecuted and even killed, the demise of Israel would mean that we may witness a catastrophe comparable with what happened during World War II. Under such conditions, the attacks against Israel – military or ideological – become more and more obviously part of an overall anti-Semitic strategy.
That makes the defense of Israel important, not just for the Jews, but also for all who don’t want to live in a world dominated by chaos and barbarism. Part of that defense is the advocacy on behalf of Israel with the purpose to confront the piles of lies and deception about the country.
Such advocacy training was held last Sunday at the Village Shul in Toronto, organized by Robert Walker.
It was a long event, which took seven hour of the afternoon – from 2 to 9 p.m. – and included activists with first-hand experience in those issues.
The first speaker was Richard Bass, who is a teacher of philosophy and author of the book “Israel in World Relations,” which presents a comprehensive historical analysis of the Jewish state and its place among other countries. I listened to him for the first time last year at the Mark Vandermaas’ Israel Truth Week Conference. Bass discussed at the time the flaws of the two-state solution from political and geographical point of view (I should post the video of it).
In this presentation he discussed his new Israel advocacy initiative – he created a course taught at schools called “Israel Palestine for Critical Thinkers” (he noted that he used the term Palestine as a traditional descriptive name of the area and not in the sense used by the supporters of the “one state” solution). The course is supposed to provide Israel advocates with philosophical and logical background when they face critics of Israel.
In his view, it is important to evaluate the claims of those critics and determine whether they are based on facts or purely on emotions. You can have a discussion only if a person’s claims are based on facts (even if incomplete or misrepresented). It is important to clarify that point before starting the discussion and reach some common ground on the issue of what both sides consider to be a fact (theological, historical, etc.). If the person’s position is based on emotion or an irrational belief, there is no point to argue, it would be a waste of time.
Ricard Bass gave an example with an article of the Palestinian high court judge Taysir Tamimi, who claimed that the Jews have no historical ties with Jerusalem. He has given the same example to many audiences and in many cases, while they intuitively know that it is not true, they have difficulties refuting it with specific facts. The statement could be questioned through many approaches, like the Torah, records of contemporary historians, archeological artifacts or even the Koran itself – if the Jews had never lived in Jerusalem, that jeopardizes many statements and rules in the Koran, which are closely related to the universally accepted Jewish history. The important part is to choose your approach according to the opponent’s way of thinking.
The second speaker was Mark Vandermaas – a veteran from the Caledonia struggle for the rule of law, where, along with Gary McHale, he opposed an illegal occupation by native extremists supported by the police. He is also the founder of the Israel Truth Week. His presentation at the training covered the Mandate for Palestine, with which the British were entrusted by the League of Nations in 1922 and its purpose was to prepare the land for establishing a Jewish state or a national home for the Jews (as it was also called in the Balfour Declaration).
He called this important document “land title deed” of the Jewish people, which recognized internationally their rights over the land of Israel. Though the document is often ignored, it is still valid and hasn’t been refuted or invalidated by any organization. It gives the Jews the right to consider themselves owners of the lands west of River Jordan. Several countries in Africa, Asia and Polynesia had been created as a result of such mandates, so denying the same right of the Jewish people is based on anti-Semitism.
Mark’s presentation was divided into two parts – first he covered the mandate and the legal rights and in the second part (in the end of the training) he explained in detail how to use the information to affirm Israel’s position and refute the claims that the Jews are occupiers in their land. It is necessary to make that knowledge sink into the minds of people before trying to find a solution to the current problems in the Middle East.
The schedule was quite busy – after Mark’s talk we had a short break and then had to choose among three presentations in three different locations – Frank Dimant (Christians United for Israel Canada, on how to be a trustworthy advocate), Sara Zeldman (from The E-Marketing Maven, on social media advocacy). I attended the third one – Meryle Kates from StandWithUs Canada, which was about one of my favourite themes, the campus anti-Semitism and advocacy. Over all the years I have been writing about the topic, I have witnessed first-hand those problems at the Toronto universities. My prime never-ending source of material has always been York University, which is a microcosm showing clearly what’s wrong with the Canadian academia.
One of the goals of StandWithUs is to combat the campus anti-Semitism through education and popularize the achievements of the Jewish state, which is not an easy task considering the enormous efforts of campus Muslim and leftist organizations to distort and mar the image of Israel. In the picture below you see the booklets, cards and other materials that are published and distributed by the organization, in addition to organizing lectures, conferences and other similar events.
Meryle brought with her two students – Zina Rakhamilova (who already graduated), who is a campus coordinator of StandWithUs, and another one who shall remain unnamed, because he is still attending York University. They both covered in detail the profoundly anti-Israel and often anti-Semitic atmosphere at the university, which makes the lives of the Jewish students difficult. It is customary that the Student Union doesn’t allow Jewish students at meetings where Israel-related issues are discussed. Not surprisingly, many members of the audience were shocked – they had no idea that such things could happen in Canada.
One of Zina’s examples of intimidation was a huge painting placed in a common area, which shows a young Palestinian clutching a rock behind his back, ready to throw it against the “aggressor.” Naturally, he is wearing a scarf with a small map showing the whole Israel as a Palestinian territory. Oddly enough, the artist sees that as an expression of “justice” and “peace” (the Arabs must have strange values).
I remember the painting very well – at one of my visits in late 2013 a few Jewish students took me to the common area to see it. It is an area controlled by the Student Union, so the administration claims that they can’t do anything about it – it is a free speech issue. The place is always crowded due to the many fast food joints in that part of the building. You can’t find pork there; in fact it is common to see scary Muslimas dressed in black sitting at the tables, who lift their face masks from below with greasy fingers to put in their mouths pieces of Popeye’s halal chicken.
Talking of Muslimas, last month the Muslim Student Association (a front group of the Muslim Brotherhood) held a Muslim awareness week at York University.
Bear in mind that the purpose of the event was to make Islam look attractive. Yet the best they could come up with was a bunch of Muslim girls dressed like unemployed ninjas handing out the booklet “Women in Islam.” As you can see in my post about the event, that notorious booklet provides valuable tips on how to discipline unruly wives by beating them.
Canadian universities have deteriorated, haven’t they? Once the forefront of progress, now they are places where primitive barbarians promote their misogynist propaganda. I am sure that at York the phrase “primitive barbarians” would be deemed “racist.” But what other description could you apply to people, who go against every Canadian value? And in that environment the Jews have it worse, because they are despised and destined for extermination in the Muslim end times (see Sahih Bukhari Hadith Volume 4, Book 52, Number 176).
After another break, we had the pleasure to hear the keynote speaker of the event – Ezra Levant. His trademark manner of discussing even the most controversial issues openly and boldly, without a hint of political correctness, kept the audience captive for nearly an hour.
You can watch the whole presentation in the video below, but let me just mention that Levant covered a wide array of issues, all revolving around Islam, anti-Semitism and their misrepresentation in the media. He bluntly stated that the “media party” stubbornly refuses to identify the Muslim extremism as one of the main causes of the new anti-Semitism. The lack of action has made the situation in Europe, especially in France, almost hopeless. The least we can do is to screen the Muslims immigrating to Canada for extremist connections.
After a break, we had again three different speakers in three locations – Christine Williams (International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, on Christian Zionists and anti-Zionists); Steve McDonald (The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, on tips for pro-Israel communication). I went to the third one – Georganne Burke (The Pathway Group, on how to lobby for Israel). She covered the practical details of lobbying politicians and organizations on Jewish issues. It’s quite a complicated process, where you need to watch how you are dressed; what kind of smile you show; matching your message to the personality and interests of the specific politician, etc.
The next speaker was Vivienne Ziner, an activist involved in many organizations (but at the training she represented the Israeli news agency Tazpit). She gave a really passionate speech, which she started by reading her son’s very interesting essay “Zionism is Humanism”:
“Many try to depict Zionism as a worldwide conspiracy, using the same primitive Anti-Semitic rhetoric used in the blood libels, the pogroms and the Holocaust and masquerading it behind a new façade. Many try to posit that Zionism is an imperialist and colonialist movement which revolves around an underlying desire for more and more land to be absorbed into the borders of Israel. Any empirical evidence completely substantiates the contrary; Israel’s borders have only shrunk over the years. In fact, Zionists are not interested in more land but in having their land respected. They are tired of the double standards, of the disputes pertaining to their homeland’s legitimacy and their right to inhabit it. They want boundaries they can feel secure within and they want to stop being bombarded with rockets by one of several terrorist organizations who simply feel the need to maintain the popular Jew-hating image that they have gained so much traction with.”
She had a few harsh words for those who avoid being involved in important issues and this let the destructive anti-Semitic forces advance with little resistance.
She was followed by the unexpected appearance of Reverend Majed El-Shafie, an internationally known Christian activist, who just came from Iraq. He visited the turbulent area to find ways to save Yazidi women and girls from violence and death with the help of the Canadian government.
The next speaker was the psychologist from Yale University Rimma Teper, who covered the psychological basis of persuasion and its relation to advocacy. Through examples of various psychological experiments, she outlined the effective methods of persuading people to accept your point of view. The message must be tailored to the way of thinking and the life experience of the person you are communicating with.
As I mentioned earlier, Mark Vandermaas concluded the training with the second part of his presentation on how to use practically the facts about the Mandate for Palestine to affirm their rights over the land of Israel.
It was a truly good event, where the over 200 attendees learned many things that they will be using in the future.
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